October Atlanta Apparel Triumphs with Pre-Pandemic Participation Levels
Atlanta Apparel recently wrapped up its last 2021 market reporting pre-pandemic buyer attendance, its largest-ever number of resources spurred on by the expansion of temporary exhibits to five floors and record-breaking order-writing that fueled growth across all market sectors.
Featuring the latest looks in contemporary, young contemporary, fashion accessories and specialty categories, including children’s, plus-size, bridal and social occasion, the show, which took place Oct. 12–16 at AmericasMart Atlanta, continued its 2021 upward attendance trajectory, attracting buyers from 44 states, three U.S. territories and 10 international countries.
With more than 630 permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits, the record-breaking event experienced sizeable gains in accounts from the Northeast (more than 34%) and Southwest (more than 237%), which helped augment its core Southeast and Midwest attendance base, according to officials from International Market Centers, owner and operator of premium showroom space for the furniture, gift, home decor, rug and apparel B2B industries.
“Due to the rapid rebound in the apparel industry, we were able to close out the year on a high note, exceeding pre-pandemic numbers of both buyers and suppliers,” said Caron Stover, senior vice president, Apparel Leasing, for IMC. “The momentum for apparel continues to grow, and we’re expecting a booming 2022 following October’s demand for inventory.”
Atlanta Apparel also hosted more than 35 first-time exhibitors, many of which were Young Contemporary, an in-demand apparel inventory category that helped drive much of the show’s attendance gains. According to AmericasMart officials, 30% more buyers shopped this category compared to the 2019 October market.
“We’ve seen unique pieces here that we have not seen anywhere else, and we are excited to place orders for our launch (in Feb. 2022),” said Allison LeFlore of Copper Collective, a young contemporary boutique based in Charlotte, N.C. “The vendors have gone above and beyond and have been extremely helpful. The hospitality at Atlanta Apparel is out of this world.”
Many exhibiting brands reported record order-writing, thanks to serious buyers looking to stock up on “immediates” (products in stock and available to ship) while sourcing for spring, following demand and inventory shortages across the apparel industry.
“I had a record-breaking show this October at Atlanta Apparel,” said Exhibitor Lacey Griffin of Lacey Griffin Sales. “I have been exhibiting here for over five years and got a mix of returning and new accounts. Atlanta Apparel is the place to be!”
In response to consumer demand, many buyers turned to social selling to showcase their inventory and write orders. A number of Atlanta Apparel vendors, including young contemporary brand Sew In Love, installed sets for their buyers for live selling on social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
“Many of our buyers want to connect directly with their customers while they’re placing their orders at Atlanta Apparel, so we created three mobile studios for them to conduct live sessions,” said Ed Olvera of Sew In Love. “This was the first trade show at which we had a live studio, and it was a huge hit that we can’t wait to bring back in the future.”
Adding to the infectious energy at Atlanta Apparel were networking events to help reunite the industry and celebrate the spring season. The Spring in the Streets Market Party, which took place outdoors after market hours, featured a prosecco van, a live band and giveaways, while The Boutique Hub returned to Atlanta to hold two successful networking happy hours designed to further at-market connections.
“Events and inventory are in high demand, and our exhibitors are delivering,” Stover added. “October ended strong, and Atlanta Apparel is committed to providing an even more electric market experience in 2022.”
Atlanta Apparel, which takes place five times a year at AmericasMart, will return Feb. 1–5, 2022.